‘Bad Sisters’ baddie Claes Bang deserves Emmy consideration

The Apple TV+ rookie series “Bad Sisters” is garnering a lot of traction at this year’s Emmys. Creator and star Sharon Horgan ranks in our top tier of Best Drama Actress contenders while featured players Anne-Marie Duff and Sarah Greene are in the conversation for Drama Supporting actress, as is the show itself.

One person who deserves more attention thrust upon them is the show’s villain — Claes Bang. The Danish actor, who shot to prominence with his definitive, delicious take on the titular character in Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat‘s “Dracula,” played Jean-Paul Williams — husband to Duff’s Grace and colleague to Horgan’s Eva. Jean-Paul is a controlling, abusive character who tries to dominate the lives of his wife and daughter. It’s his behavior that leads Eva and the rest of the Garvey sisters to plot to kill him.

As the hissable foil to the five Garvey sisters, Bang earned plenty of plaudits for his performance. As Joy Press of Vanity Fair observed: “It is Claes Bang’s magnetic incarnation of JP — and his total commitment to the vocation of misogynist monster — that allows viewers to accept the premise.”

Likewise, The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert gave Bang a glowing review, saying that he played Jean-Paul with “gleeful intensity.” As she noted: “Bang’s typical role is a thinking person’s toxic crush; he simmers with intellectual self-satisfaction in the art-world satire ‘The Square’ and indulges in casual fratricide and a spot of naked, fiery volcano-side wrestling in the recent Viking epic ‘The Northman.’ But in ‘Bad Sisters,’ Bang offers up a villain who’s sadistic, yes, and controlling, cruel, abusive, petty — truly a tapestry of spousal shittiness — but also disgusting. His masculinity is so pernicious that it almost festers. Watching him, you might feel small spasms of repulsion and rage, relics of muscle memory from bad men gone by.”

Among the other critics singing his praises:

Steve Greene of Indie Wire: “Bang keeps on a razor’s edge between being an aggressively awful human and being a cartoonish misanthrope. Bang slides dangerously easily into the skin of an everyday emotional terrorist, one who uses an internalized misogyny to fuel his day-ruining encounters with family and coworkers and strangers alike.”

Olly Richards of Empire: “Bang gives him all the smug self-confidence he gave Dracula, but with the charm extracted and extra bursts of terrifying callousness. Finding out just how he got his comeuppance, and all the ways he had it coming, makes for a comedy-drama with a black but surprisingly warm heart.

Bang should be higher up in our odds chart for Drama Supporting Actor but currently he sits well behind our predicted eight nominees of: Matthew Macfadyen and Kieran Culkin (“Succession”), F. Murray Abraham (“The White Lotus”), Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul”), Matt Smith (“House of the Dragon”), John Lithgow (“The Old Man”), Jonathan Pryce (“The Crown”), and Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”).

It’s a tough hill to climb, but the fact that Bang plays such a boo-worthy bad guy bodes well for his boisterous, bombastic performance. Several villains have been nominated in this category in recent years including O Yeong-su (“Squid Game”), Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), and a trio of Giancarlo Esposito performances (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul,” and “The Mandalorian.”)

Bang could certainly join them. If he does, this would be his first-ever Emmy nomination. In fact, it would be his first major awards nomination ever after his 2017 European Film Awards win for “The Square,” although he certainly deserved more love for “Dracula.” Here’s hoping that can be rectified this year.

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